“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”     – Heraclitus

I don’t mean to be glib or downplay the extreme importance of this post by leading with what may considered a cliché. Stick with me for a minute – it will all make sense.

When I sat down to write this post, I wanted to share some tips or ideas that will help you help the businesses that need us now – women-owned and BIPOC-owned businesses. It hit me that after 20+ years in marketing and studying human behavior, that many people won’t act until they truly believe in the problem and feel the need for change.

So, to set the stage for how you can help, let me share WHY you should help.

Change is the only constant and the past 18ish months, we’ve seen unprecedented changes. We’ve had to adapt, accept, pivot (insert whatever buzzword you hear most here). It’s time to take control of some of that change now. It’s time to guide it or force it! And here is why:

“The pandemic circumstances intensify inequalities related to gender, and other factors, such as economic status, race, culture, language, and other intersecting elements of our identities. It is important to understand the intersectional gendered implications of the pandemic, especially in the areas of gender-based violence, economic security, girls’ empowerment, and inclusive leadership.”

Source: https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/women-and-pandemics/

That’s a mouthful – and it’s heartbreaking. Limited gains made for equality are in jeopardy as a result of the pandemic.

“Epidemiologist and anti-racist activist Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones states that “racism, not race, is a risk factor for dying of COVID-19” (Wallis, 2020)”

Source: https://www.vawlearningnetwork.ca/our-work/backgrounders/more_exposed_and_less_protected_in_canada_systemic_racism_and_covid19/ (NOTE: This is worth the read!)

Marginalized communities are experiencing the pandemic in different and harsher ways than many of us can imagine.

We read, we talk, we even cry, as we contemplate the harsh realities for women, BIPOC communities and for the disabled. When you consider intersectionality – think about the impact on a disabled BIPOC woman. It becomes a complex issue that impacts  finances, jobs, health and mental health. It needs to be unpacked, examined and repaired. Systems need to change.

For today, I simply want to ask:

What if we decide to use our power to force change now? What if we use our voices, our connections, our wallet to give support to the groups suffering the most right now?

I think not only can we create positive change – but we have to. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can support women- and BIPOC-owned businesses.

NOTE, I don’t pretend to have all the answers and I don’t think this post is going to solve deep rooted systemic issues. But I do believe that if even a handful of people get ideas or inspiration and help create positive change in their community for local businesses, the world is better off for it.

Supporting Businesses That Need You Now

Small women-owned and BIPOC-owned business took a greater hit during the pandemic with service sectors, social assistance, and food services being the hardest hit. The first and easiest solutions are to use your wallet, your voice, any platforms and connections you have.

  • Support struggling shops (look online to discover which businesses are women- and BIPOC-owned, buy online or in-store)
  • Write online reviews promoting these businesses
  • Promote and recommend them on your social channels
  • Let friends and family know about the businesses you’ve discovered

Do you have extra capital that you are looking to invest? An investment in a start-up could mean everything to women and BIPOC entrepreneurs.

Do you have skills that could benefit a business and help them grow? Consider mentoring women and BIPOC entrepreneurs to help them reach their goals.

Look for organizations that offer support to women or BIPOC business owners – donate to the organizations (make sure the money is going to make it’s way to directly benefit these struggling entrepreneurs.

Look at your connections – who can you introduce to a struggling business owner to help better their circumstances?

Amplify the voices and stories of women and BIPOC business owners and entrepreneurs. Supporting businesses that need us doesn’t have to be complex.

Demand diversity and inclusion in associations, business and any arena you engage with regularly.

Listen. Be a sounding board. Encourage. Support the women and BIPOC business owners you know. Let them tell you how you can best support them.

To help make it easier for our site visitors to locate and support BIPOC- and women-owned businesses, we will be adding an icon to their profile. We encourage you to start supporting businesses that need you right now.

Remember, as consumers your voice means something – reach out to any businesses you engage with and ask that they offer more women- and BIPOC-made products.

While change has been painfully slow to date, we can force change by using our voices, our ideas, our connections and our money. 

Supporting businesses that need us now is a great way to commit to creating a better community – a diverse, strong and supportive community.

I would like to invite any and all of you to share ideas, resources and anything that positively contributes to this conversation.